LAUREL, Md. — Maryland’s second-largest school district is headed back to class Wednesday. Students in Prince George’s County are among the last to wrap up summer break. The district, like many other districts, will have some strict new COVID-19 guidelines.
The district will require masks for every person inside of all buildings, on all school buses and when students are outside for recess. Teachers and staff are required to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
The district said they’re looking forward to the return of in-person learning. A spokesperson for the district said their focus this year really is getting back to or close to their "normal." Many students have been learning from home for so long and the focus will be on learning and safety and ensuring a successful transition back to classrooms.
The district also said 98% of our students are expected back.
However, there are some virtual options that were made available and more than 12,000 students are signed up. The new K-6 virtual option is available for the fall and the new 7-12 virtual academy, is a limited virtual option for students who performed well and had limited absences during virtual learning last year.
"What we know is that our children who sat home last year really found that it was quite difficult at a distance for many of them. And so we know that it is in their best interest for them to be in the classroom," Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said.
The district also said because of distance learning, they are now a 1:1 school district, meaning all students have their own personal devices, iPads/Chromebooks. Student meals are free for all students this school year. Meals will be individually packaged and distributed and served in the cafeteria or in spaces determined by school administration. Prince George’s County Public School district is also experiencing a bus driver shortage, so parents and guardians are encouraged to drive their students to school if possible.
“Our biggest challenge is transportation. So if anyone knows of people who want to become a bus driver we will train you on how to become a bus driver, get your CDL license that is our biggest issue around the country,” Prince George's County CEO Dr. Monica Goldson said.